Mature (18+) Audiences. Contains bad words and sex-y scenarios.
Mosvar burst through the front door of his family home. The servants at the front looked up, saw it was him, rolled their eyes, and returned to their tasks.
“Where is Father?”
“Mos?” His mother entered the room. “Dear, what are you doing here? Your father said you were in Hawaii.”
He gave her a kiss on each cheek. “I was. Where is Father?”
“Is someone here, Mama?”
She licked her thumb and rubbed something from his jaw. “Like who?”
“Mama, you know who I’m talking about.” He pulled away and brushed past her. “Where is she staying? What room is she in? I know she’s here.”
He started toward the stairs, but two guards in uniform blocked his path. That told him everything he needed to know. Somehow, someway, Xara had been snatched right from under his nose. What his parents wanted with her, he didn’t know, but he would get her back. And, when he found Dom, he would get the other side of the story. Maybe old Ramzsyn had offered Dom money for the abduction.
He would find a way to offer twice the sum.
“What is this?” He swung around and headed back to where his mother stood. “You release your hounds on your own son?”
“I don’t want you bothering her,” she said. “Her first few weeks here weren’t the easiest.”
“What did Father do?”
“He was his normal self.”
He scoffed. “And you think she’s better off with you two here than with me?”
“Yes.” She held his gaze. “I do. You are my son, Mos, and I love you dearly, but your lifestyle is not at all suited to a woman who is expecting.”
His face was hit with a blast of cold. “Expecting what?”
“A package.” She smacked his chest. “A child, son. A baby.”
That was the leverage he needed. The minute Mike found out he was going to be a father, the crazy assassin would have no choice but to carry out the request to kill Ramzsyn.
“May I see her, Mama?”
“You may not.”
“How do you know she is truly expecting, then?”
With an exasperated groan, his mother walked to a drawer just off the entryway and pulled out an envelope. “Look for yourself since you think I am a fool.”
“Mama, I never said—”
She stormed off, waving away his protest.
He opened the envelope and pulled out the first document, an ultrasound image, and pocketed it. There were a few more of Xara in what he recognized as one of the bathrooms upstairs, in her underwear. The lens had zoomed in on the tiny rise in her stomach. His father’s work, no doubt.
He pocketed them all, making a note to keep a few copies for himself to stroke his cock to. He didn’t know what it said about him that knowing she was pregnant made him even harder than before.
After Mike killed his father, he would have Dom kill Mike, truly this time, and keep her for himself. Keep them both. An uncontrollable woman was easily manipulated once her child became involved.
In a few weeks, he would have her bouncing on his cock, her husband a distant memory, and it would be like there’d never been a moment she’d so much as considered rejecting him.
He turned and left the way he came in.
MARY STUDIED THE expression on her son’s face.
A mother knew her son.
After Argun’s death, he’d started acting strangely. Also, based on the coroner’s report, there should have been enough time between the incident and Argun’s last breath for Mosvar to get help for his brother. Then, after Dominik let her know Xara’s husband was still alive on account of Mosvar, she’d pieced everything else together—Mosvar wanted something from Xara’s husband, and it was something he felt only that particular man could deliver.
Xara’s husband had effortlessly and stealthily sliced Argun’s throat. That meant Mosvar wanted him to kill Ramzsyn.
If Xara’s husband could remove all three from her life, maybe she’d finally be a free woman. She’d no longer be wife and mother to abductors. Men who beat their wives to within an inch of her life.
Now that she was certain, she’d let him take more pictures to Xara’s husband, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind.
Mosvar assumed he was duping them all.
But mothers knew their sons.
And hers, was a fool.
* * *
Mike no longer flinched whenever one of the goons Mosvar sent to try to “convince” him to agree to kill Ramzsyn landed a shot to his ribs. He could barely feel the punches, and he definitely couldn’t feel the iron around his wrists and ankles that kept him propped on a wall in his cell. If Xara was dead, he wouldn’t talk. If they couldn’t prove she was alive, he wouldn’t talk.
“Enough.” Mosvar’s flowery accent flitted into the room. “You are done for right now.”
The men, sweaty and knuckles sore, backed out of the cell and left the dank room.
Mike let his head hang forward. Every muscle and bone in his midsection hurt, but what the fuck did he care?
“Have you changed your mind yet?” Mosvar asked.
He raised his head.
“I did not think so.” Mosvar’s shoulders lifted and fell with an elaborate sigh. “You will change your mind, my friend. Do you want to know why?” He reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope. “Guess what I have inside?”
Mike studied the man’s jaw, the bones in his nose. There were fourteen bones in the human face. The mandible had spots that were easy to fracture, and a skull was pretty hard. A hit from his head, at the right angle, could collapse one of Mosvar’s cheeks. Hard enough, maybe an eye socket.
Mosvar pulled out a long strip of white paper, came closer—not close enough to head butt—and turned the paper around.
Three of them.
“Know what I am looking at?”
Mike shrugged. “You think I care that you have a kid on the way?”
He tapped the top region of one of the images. “Look closer. What does it say there?”
Xara Liu was printed at the top.
They still didn’t know what name he went by.
The image was dated for that year. He had no idea what day it was or what month he was in, but it was dated for that year. He recognized Xara’s birthday, the name of a hospital, measurements, and some other numbers he couldn’t figure out.
Gestational age, maybe?
So then it would be “gestational age sixteen weeks, four days.”
His heart stopped. “When was this? How long ago?”
Mosvar briefly flipped the image around. “Three days ago, which means she is seventeen weeks now, does it not? From what I understand, the next ones will be the newer kind. What is it? 3D? 4D? Either way, you will be able to see the baby’s face a little bit.”
There was the head, arms, legs. A belly. A mouth that looked like Xara’s. If it hadn’t been for the piece of shit human in front of him, he would have cried. He’d been nervous, uncertain, unsure and now…it all dissolved.
He was going to be a father.
“Is she okay?” He tugged at the restraints. “Is she healthy? Is she eating? Is she okay?”
“She’s healthy,” Mosvar said. “She’s eating. I think the other date on the image is the time she is estimated to deliver. January.”
His mother’s birthday was in January.
“Is she…is she happy about the baby? Is she scared?”
Oh, baby. You’re all alone. I’m so sorry.
“Overjoyed.” Mosvar presented a second picture. “You can see a little bit of her stomach in this one.”
There it was, a small protrusion below her bellybutton. He wanted to kiss it. Whether or not she was happy, he wasn’t there, and nothing would be right until she was in his arms again.
He noticed the other details—the extravagant bathroom where she stood, the angle the image had been taken from, the way it appeared she didn’t know the image had been taken.
“Who has her under surveillance?”
“That would be my father.” Mosvar pocketed the photo of Xara’s stomach, pulled something blue from his jacket, pressed it against the back of the ultrasound, and stuck it on the wall next to Mike’s head. “She is with him and my mother.”
“What does he want with her?”
“I do not know, but he is my father, after all, and she is beautiful.”
“How’d she get there?”
“Will you agree to kill my father now?” Mosvar glanced at the image next to Mike’s head. “If you kill my father, I will have your wife and your child returned to you.”
Dom had taken Xara and Mosvar didn’t know, until now, where Xara had gone. That meant Dom had to have stepped outside of Mosvar’s plans.
“Fine.” Mike turned his head so he could see his baby again, even if it was from the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to stop looking. “I will kill your father if you promise to keep an eye on Xara. Make sure nothing happens to her. You say you like her, and it appears you and your father aren’t exactly close, so you can do that for me. You can make sure no harm comes to her.”
Mosvar nodded, the elation evident in his eyes. “I can do that.”
“Tell her I’m alive.”
Mosvar opened his mouth in protest.
“You have no bargaining chips here, Sarayev. Tell her I’m alive. That way, she’ll eat. I know she’s already taking care of herself because of the baby, but I need her to do more.”
“Check in on her. Make sure she is being taken care of.”
“Only then will we have an agreement.”
Mosvar backed up to the opening of the enclosure. “Tell me what you will need.”
“A flight, climbing equipment, and his schedule. How do you want it done?”
“It does not matter.” So much joy vibrated through the man, he bounced on his toes. “So long as he suffers.”
Mike nodded. “Okay. Just don’t forget my terms.”
“I will protect Xara.”
“When it is time to leave, I will have men come for you. If you try anything, I will have her killed.”
“I won’t try anything,” Mike promised. “I won’t risk their lives. You have my word on that.”
A few minutes later, seven large men entered. Four held guns on him while three removed his restraints. Once the iron clasps were undone, they hurried out of the enclosure and slammed the door shut. Mike ignored them, plucked the ultrasound image from the wall, and sank, cross-legged, onto the cot.
“Daddy’s coming. Take care of your mother until I get there. I love you. I love you both.”
19: There You Are
He drew them close, taking in their warmth and smells and the reality of just how much he’d hated being away from them. How much he’d longed to see them.
Across the room, his gaze met Ayesha’s.
There you are.
We’re coming up on the final 3 episodes!